Today I am going to do a book review of The Design Engineer Handbook by InvisionApp written by industry leaders.
Design engineering is a new name given to a old role in tech for those people who can write code and design interfaces. These engineers/designer can hop into a different role depending on the need.
From the outlooks, this seem be a kind of a role popular in small teams and usually new startups who need to move fast and requires someone who can wear many hats. But, what is cool to know is this kind of a role is also popular in big tech companies (like facebook and google) where moving fast as a product designer is crucial and having the ability to prototype in code is highly valued.
So now that we have an idea of who a design engineer is, let's talk about what sort of work they perform?
The work of design engineering
A design engineer might focus on setting up a design system, documenting patterns, performing workflow audits and updates, building UI components, writing usage documentation, or working with stakeholders spread across an organization.
The ability to quickly innovate, experiment, and iterate can mean the difference between success and failure. For this a design engineer focus on teams process and prospects and bring design to life by building UI component, working with stakeholder, and working on documnting all these aspects.
What is the process of a design engineer?
Coming up with innovative solutions without room to explore, experiment, and iterate can be a challenge. That’s why many companies are starting to create hybrid roles to bridge the gap between design and engineering.
- Value. Does our product add value and solve problems for our users?
- Usability. Can users figure out how to use it?
- Feasibility. Will engineers be able to build the features within the time, resources, and technology available?
- Business Viability. Will this solution benefit the business?
Simply put, design engineering is where solutions are created at the intersection of design and development. It’s not only about solving problems for customers; it’s also about improving the design and engineering process, making a space for communication and collaboration, and building a great experience.
Or to phrase it another way: It’s a question of building the right thing versus building the thing right.
It’s important to adopt tools that have a clear purpose and are intuitive to use. Spending tons of time figuring out how to operate a tool while developing a product defeats the purpose. Chosen wisely, the best tools allow teams to prototype ideas fast and come up with innovative solutions.
Products fail when they don’t deliver valuable solutions to customers. Design engineering brings product teams, stakeholders, and customers closer together. Truly grasping all of these facets of the business allows product teams to create features that solve customers’ problems, thereby making the product valuable to them.
Design engineering handbook is written by multiple authors discussing multiple topics that are related to the design engineering role.
This includes an introduction, process, collaboration, organizational models, leadership and manifesto for a designe engineer.
Design engineering delivers solutions to UX problems, to design implementation problems, to development inefficiencies.
Design engineering bridges gaps between UX and engineering, design and development, creative vision and technical implementation. It fosters better collaboration and builds a more cohesive user experience.
Design engineering innovates. It explores, tests, and validates new concepts early. It takes risks. It makes leaps. It runs experiments. Design engineers deliver experiences that enable teams to learn faster and make better design decisions. They make wild ideas clickable, testable, and tangible.
Design engineering creates tools to find solutions that work right now, and will work the next time and the time after that.
Design engineering builds fast and tests fast. Design engineers embed with teams to enhance their capacity. They maintain flexibility in process and priorities to go where urgent needs lie.
Design engineering supports both design and development. We are allies and advocates, moving things forward, together.
Design engineering is about flexibility. It prioritizes meeting the need over enforcing a rigid process.
Design engineering champions craft. And dreaming and doing. Refining. Shaping. Shipping. Serving real needs. Raising the bar. Innovating, implementing, and improving.
Big tech companies often separate the people who design things from the people who build them. Designers determine exactly how everything should look and flow, and then they hand their work over to engineers, who figure out how to make the design functional and performant. But things are changing. Expertise is evolving. Needs are shifting. New tools make front-end development a more accessible skill. Designers are learning to find the beauty in code; engineers are coming to appreciate the technical challenges of impeccable UX.
Interactive experiences now require increasingly sophisticated prototypes earlier in the design process. Consumers expect digital products to be simpler to use, even as they perform more complex tasks. Design systems require designers and engineers to work together to ship usable components, not static guidelines. So forward-thinking organizations are finding ways to foster collaboration across the old boundaries. That’s where design engineering comes in. As users come to expect more polished, intuitive experiences, and as design becomes increasingly central to business success, tech companies can’t prioritize speed and scale at the expense of quality and human relationships. They have to operate with an appreciation of the whole experience, and to build teams that are incentivized to deliver on that goal.